4 Factors That Can Affect Rental Car Coverage

Auto body work, fender benders, and accidents can all dent your wallet. In the case of a car accident, your auto insurance can help mitigate the cost. But, how much it helps depends on the coverage and limits you have, and there are several factors that can affect rental car coverage.

One of the ways to customize your car insurance is to get a policy with rental car coverage in case your car needs to stay in the shop or you need transportation while shopping for a replacement vehicle. There are many factors that affect rental car coverage and depending on your coverage limits, you could find yourself paying out of pocket for a rental before your car is repaired.

4 Factors That Can Affect Rental Car Coverage

If you have recently experienced a fender bender or a more substantial accident damaging your vehicle, be warned, the cost to repair can drain your wallet.

The time to schedule and complete the repairs may also be much longer than what you may have experienced in the past. The supply chain for parts is bogged down, taking longer to ship the parts, and the manpower at repair shops is often short-staffed.

With these contributing factors, the impact on your wallet and patience can and most likely will be strained. It can also cause you to reach the limits of rental car coverage provided by your auto insurance. Here are a few major factors that can affect rental car coverage:

1. The Time to Schedule and Repair May Be Longer

Between supply chain disruptions and potential labor shortages on top of an increase in demand, the wait time for your repair is being affected immediately. Depending on the repair, schedules can be extended by several weeks and even months.

Shops also have limited storage space to keep vehicles while they wait for parts to be shipped. Some parts may be on backorder for weeks and even months. These things can affect when you can schedule a repair, how long your car has to be in the shop waiting for parts and repair, and also how long you may need to use a rental vehicle.

2. Parts Can Be Difficult to Find

Parts can be difficult to find, and when they are found, they may be hours away. It is not uncommon for managers to spend two-plus hours on the phone searching for the parts required for the repair. Once the parts are located, it may be necessary to send an employee on a “three-hour, one-way trip” to pick up the parts rather than having them shipped.

3. Potential Delays Related to Labor

If you have located the parts and have them in hand, the next dilemma is to have the employee available to do the work. In the past, the saying was, “it’s hard to find good help!” Today that is still true and in some cases, can also be, “it’s hard to find any help at all!”

Even with plenty of employees to handle the labor, an increase in demand and dealing with other backlogs can mean scheduling difficulties for the labor required for your repair and thus, a longer repair.

4. Rental Cars Can Be Scarce and More Costly

If you are in a position where your vehicle needs repair, you will also have the dilemma of a rental vehicle while your vehicle is in the shop. The availability of rentals has become tighter. Some rental companies now have a waiting list as clients need rental cars.

Do you need rental car insurance? Technically, no, but having it can definitely help you manage costs. The cost of the rental has also risen substantially. Inflation has driven the cost up as well as high fuel prices and higher demand. You may find that the daily cost of the rental now exceeds the limit paid by your auto policy.

How to Minimize Fender Bender Risk and Rental Car Coverage Issues

What can you do to prepare and minimize your chance of a fender bender and/or the costs if unfortunately, you have that fender bender?

1. See if You Can Increase the Limit Paid by Your Auto Policy for Rentals

One of the car insurance myths is that minimum limits are enough; often, they aren’t and leave you unprotected and paying exorbitant out-of-pocket costs. You may be able to increase the limit paid by your policy for the rental car. If possible, a limit of $60 per day is much closer to the actual cost of the rental.

2. Minimize the Risk of an Accident as Much as You Can

Second, minimize your risk of an accident by driving more defensively. Leave for your destination earlier, slow down, stay aware of other drivers, and do not drive distracted by using your cell phone.

Do not drive under the influence under any circumstances. Also, consider investing in a dashcam. You can’t control what other drivers do or don’t do. If you are involved in an accident and are not at fault, dashcam footage is valuable evidence that can help you and your insurance company.

3. Consider Public Transportation or Rideshare Options

If you live in a metropolitan area, explore the options for public transportation. This may remove the need for a rental car. Carpooling is also another possibility to reduce your daily commuting costs.

You can also explore rideshare options to see if paying for an Uber, Lyft, taxi, etc. would be cheaper than a rental, or if it would be a good secondary option in case your vehicle will take longer to repair than your insurance will cover for a rental.

Does Your Auto Insurance Policy Provide Enough Coverage for Rental Cars?

With the changes that have happened in the recent past, be willing to explore options and think outside the box where you have been comfortable in the past. Contact your insurance agent and discuss the options of raising limits for better protection. And as always, work on your defensive driving mindset.

If we can be of any help, give one of our experienced and knowledgeable insurance staff here at Ruhl Insurance a call. They can discuss coverages and options for your specific situation. They can be reached at 800-537-6880 or 717-665-2283.

Disclaimer: Information and claims presented in this content are meant for informative, illustrative purposes and should not be considered legally binding.